OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. (WLS) -- Oakbrook Terrace is fighting back against IDOT's order to turn off red light cameras at a busy intersection.
Plastic bags now cover the cameras at Route 83 and 22nd Street, but the village is threatening to turn them back on.
A special detail of officers started patrolling this intersection in person Thursday since the Illinois Department of Transportation told them turn off the red light cameras here last week.
"Since the inception of the cameras in 2017, foremost for residents of this community, it has been about safety," Oakbrook Terrace Mayor Paul Esposito said.
The mayor says the cameras were generating up to 1,500 tickets a week at one of the busiest intersections in the state.
Contractors covered the cameras here with hoods last week at IDOT's request, but now Oakbrook Terrace is fighting back.
Their attorneys wrote a letter to IDOT objecting to removing the cameras, claiming IDOT has no authority to take the cameras down because the village is a Home Rule Community. And they say the crash data IDOT claimed it needs to justify the cameras for 2019 through 2021 comes from IDOT, but the agency has not yet released the data.
A spokesperson for IDOT says the agency's red light camera "...policy allows IDOT to remove such cameras if it is in the best interest of the motoring public. It remains IDOT's position revocation of the permit is in accord with the law."
Luke Pennings got a $100 red light camera ticket in the mail just last week for making what he says was a legal right turn on red. He says the cameras are unfair and ineffective.
"I think they're a deterrent," Pennings said. "Do I think they make it safer? No. I don't think they make it any safer whatsoever."
The former mayor of Oakbrook Terrace, Tony Ragucci, is now under federal indictment for charges related to allegedly accepting bribes from a now former representative of the company that installed the red light cameras. That company, SafeSpeed, said they were not aware of any of the activities laid out in the allegations against Ragucci. IDOT, however, makes no mention of Ragucci in their decision to remove the cameras.
"We've gone on, moved forward and we have not been in contact with the former mayor," Esposito said. "My residents are for this camera and the safety of that intersection."
The mayor of Oakbrook Terrace says the village reached out to IDOT to try to resolve the issue and restore the cameras. They say they have not yet heard back from IDOT. In the meantime. officers will continue to patrol the intersection.
SafeSpeed's goal has always been to provide a service that helps save lives. As new developments in federal investigations come to light, SafeSpeed remains both shocked and saddened that one of its former colleagues was engaged in criminal conduct and recruited outside individuals to help further his self-serving activities. Their actions were clearly in their own self-interest and done without SafeSpeed's knowledge and undercut the important work SafeSpeed does.
The criminal activity of a few individuals does not and should not reflect the values and integrity of SafeSpeed, its employees, and its clients. SafeSpeed built its business on integrity and ethics, and it holds its employees and representatives to the highest standards of conduct and ethics. SafeSpeed has long since terminated all contact with its former colleague and his associates.
SafeSpeed remains committed to continuing to assist Illinois municipalities in improving traffic safety. SafeSpeed fully supports the federal government's investigation into public corruption and will continue to aid their efforts in any way it can.